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Tile Backsplash Ideas

Stone Backsplash

With the myriad choices of materials on the market today, there are seemingly an infinite amount of tile backsplash ideas at your disposal. In fact, choosing your backsplash tile will probably be one of the most fun (if not creatively challenging) things you’ll ever do.

Here are some of the most common backsplash tile options and things you need to consider.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic is probably the most common style of kitchen backsplash tile and it remains a popular choice because it’s durable, budget friendly and low maintenance. It’s typically sold in 4″ x 4″ backsplash wall tiles, but there are a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and textures available. You can also get smaller accent pieces to add dimension to your particular backsplash design and these are typically mounted on a piece of fiberglass mat backing for easy installation. Ceramic tiles are applied to the wall with thin set mortar. Grout is then applied between tiles. The grout joints should be sealed otherwise they can become stained from cooking messes.

Natural Stone Tile

Natural stone tile selections consist of materials such as granite, limestone, marble, onyx, slate and travertine, to name a few. People are attracted to using natural stone materials for backsplash tile designs because of the variances it has vs. that of ceramic or porcelain tile.

Granite is a very dense material and therefore quite durable. It is also water resistant, making it a particularly attractive option for kitchens and bathrooms. Limestone is most often used in flooring applications but it has seen an uptick in use for backsplash as well. Travertine is a combination of limestone and natural stone and no two slabs are identical, which allow for a distinct look.

Natural stone is more expensive than ceramic and the variances in texture and color can make it tougher to clean. A thick sealant should be applied after installation due to its porosity.

Mosaic

“Mosaic” refers to a picture or design that’s made up of smaller elements. Mosaic tiles are smaller than typically sized tiles, usually around 2” in squares or other shapes and can be made of porcelain, ceramic or glass. They can be used to form a larger image or pattern, or as accent pieces in larger patterns. Laying mosaic tiles is similar to that of porcelain or ceramic tile installations. Thin set mortar is used to apply the tiles to the wall surface and grout is applied between the joints. The grout joints should also be sealed to prevent staining.

You’ve probably heard the terms “porcelain tile” and “ceramic tile” used interchangeably. This excellent article spells out the differences.

For more information, visit the National Kitchen and Bath Association's informative website.